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Kramer Levin partner pay shown in ethics doc from Navy GC pick

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REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

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  • John (Sean) Coffey's disclosure revealed more than $4 million in partnership share
  • Coffey provided legal services to financial companies and execs

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(Reuters) - John (Sean) Coffey, chairman of the complex litigation group at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, reported receiving more than $4 million in partnership share since 2020 for his work advising major U.S. financial companies and corporate executives, according to an ethics disclosure released on Monday as part of his nomination to serve as general counsel to the U.S. Navy.

Coffey, a partner at the New York-based law firm since 2013, provided legal services to corporate clients including BlackRock Inc, American International Group, Ocwen Financial Corp, Pershing Square Capital Management LP, FCA US LLC and Burford Capital, the disclosure showed.

Coffey's filing also said he provided legal services for Hollywood film star Brad Pitt and Marissa Mayer, former chief executive of Yahoo Inc.

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Financial disclosures offer a rare peek at a lawyer's full client list and compensation. Ethics rules require filers to identify income received from the prior calendar year up to the date of the filing. The filings, which reveal where a lawyer might face recusal questions while in public service, do not provide information about the scope of the work an attorney provided for a client.

Executive branch nominees generally are prohibited from touching matters that involved their former law firm or a former client for at least one year.

Coffey declined to comment on Monday. His nomination, announced on Aug. 10, will head to the Senate's armed forces committee. Coffey's 30 years of Navy service included active duty and the U.S. Naval Reserve. He retired in 2004 with the rank of captain.

Coffey hasn't always been a corporate lawyer. He earlier was a federal prosecutor in Manhattan and class action plaintiffs' lawyer.

Federal financial disclosures from Kramer Levin lawyers are rare, given how seldom lawyers have left the firm in recent years for public service. By comparison, more attorneys from firms including Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Latham & Watkins; and O'Melveny & Myers have departed for posts in the Biden administration.

Coffey's disclosure said he will receive additional Kramer Levin partnership share valued at between $1 million and $5 million for legal services performed prior to his departure from the law firm.

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